Friendship was a blessing but also a challenge when the apostle John wrote to Christians in the first century. But a bigger question than, “How many friends can I have,” was, “Who are the right friends for me?”
As a caring pastor, John pointed his Christian friends away from the false teachers deceiving them away from Jesus, and he pointed them to each other. Writing from one church community to another church community, John noted “Friends here” [send their greetings to] … “Friends there” (3 John 14).
He’s saying to the other church community, “Your friends are not the traveling teachers who are wooing and winning you over while taking you away from the truths of Jesus Christ. Your friends are here. In church. People who love Jesus just like you do. People who won’t betray you.”
This included John himself, and here he makes an interesting statement which at first doesn’t seem so odd but just wait for it. The statement is, “I hope to visit you (see you soon) and talk with you face to face” (2 John 12).
“Email and texting just doesn’t work here,” John tells them. “There’s more to our relationship than posting a comment on your Facebook feed. I want to see you. I want to look into your eyes, sit down beside you, spend quality time with you, make you a priority, be in the moment with you.”
Face to face
Not too surprising but get this. The actual, original Greek words that John used here literally say, “Talk with you mouth to mouth.”
“I want to see your lips moving—trembling when you’re sad, smiling when you’re happy, frowning when you’re angry. I want to talk and not just text. I want to focus on you personally without distraction and not a thousand people at the same time online.”
Jesus is your best friend
Like pen and ink wasn’t enough for the apostle John to practice his friendship, Bible books and prophecies weren’t enough for Jesus. Even the Ten Commandments written on stone by the finger of God weren’t enough.
Jesus needed to come and visit face to face. Jesus became human so we could see and feel and spend quality time in the moment with us. Hebrews 1:1,2 says, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.”
God loves you so much that he meets you face to face, mouth to mouth, breath to breath, life to life in Jesus. He touches your sin. He takes up your messes and mistakes. He teaches you mercy and peace. He trumps all threatening circumstances in your life with his divine promises. You have more than his Word. You have him.
He once said to his followers and says to us, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:15,16).
Jesus wants you to be his friend. Jesus, in mercy and forgiveness, chooses you to be his friend. Now, be his friend. Never leave him. Always trust him. And, please, on social media share him more than anything or anyone else. Because he wants to call your friends his friends too.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for my friends, and thank you for being my friend. As you and other friends extend grace and kindness to me, help me to be the best friend I can be. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Do you know the song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus?” Watch this song video performed by Christian artist Matt Maher, mashing up that classic with his new version. Enjoy! https://youtu.be/hwZzLG-aI1c